UNC Kenan-Flagler graduates first class of pioneering online MBA program

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Strong student-faculty connections, high retention and career success are hallmarks of the program.

Chapel Hill, N.C., July 11, 2013 -- The University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School will graduate its first class of the innovative online MBA program, MBA@UNC, July 13, 2013, in Chapel Hill.

UNC Kenan-Flagler created MBA@UNC to provide the flexibility and access working professionals need to earn their MBA from wherever they are in the world.

Among the first graduating class of 18 students, 17 began their studies in the inaugural class in July 2011, and one began his studies in October 2011. 

"We are extremely proud of the members of the inaugural class, who have been both pioneers and our partners in shaping the future of global business education," said Doug Shackelford, MBA@UNC associate dean and the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation at UNC Kenan-Flagler. "They are an impressive group and the very best evidence of our program's strength. They have exceeded our expectations, and now we welcome them to the UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni community of more than 32,000 graduates living in 81 countries."

For the class, 61 percent earned promotions or made career changes while enrolled in MBA@UNC, and others changed jobs, including moving from working in law to a Fortune 500 company, from the military to the private sector; starting an entrepreneurial venture; and enrolling in the PhD program at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

"The students apply what they learn immediately in their jobs, and their companies value the growth they see," said Susan Cates, MBA@UNC executive director. "To date, MBA@UNC students have attributed over 100 promotions or career changes to the impact of their program."

They also have been through personal changes during their studies: moves, engagements and marriages, babies born and deaths in their families, said Cates. "And yet they have managed to stay fully committed as students and working professionals. They share an incredibly strong connection, which shows that deep, rich relationships can be built in an online program."

The students' commitment to UNC Kenan-Flagler is deep, too. MBA@UNC students feel proud of and connected to our School, said Cates. "Our first graduating class, with 100 percent participation, contributed $25,050 to UNC Kenan-Flagler, and we appreciate their support and the message that their class gift sends."

A new class enters every quarter and today over 450 students are enrolled in MBA@UNC. They represent 39 states and 35 countries in terms of citizenship and where they live. Current students live in Afghanistan, Bermuda, Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and the United States. Their average age is 31; they average almost eight years of work experience; 23 percent already have advanced degrees before starting their MBA studies.

"When we announced our plans for MBA@UNC, we pledged that our students, curriculum and faculty would be the same quality as our on-campus programs, and we have fulfilled that commitment," said Shackelford. "The only difference – how we provide that education – means that we are serving people for whom coming to Chapel Hill or another world-class campus was not an option."

MBA@UNC provides the same rigor and quality of UNC Kenan-Flagler's on-campus MBA programs using an innovative technology platform. UNC Kenan-Flagler professors teach the courses, which include live classes and self-paced content and are based on the rigorous curriculum of the residential MBA program. Courses are delivered using an advanced online learning platform that includes original broadcast-quality video, self-paced lectures, interactive case studies and collaborative activities that foster teamwork. UNC Kenan-Flagler collaborates with 2U Inc., which provides the technology platform, instructional design, marketing and infrastructure and technical student support to deliver the classes online.

The students have traveled to Global Immersions, elective courses held at the end of every quarter, in San Francisco, London, São Paulo, Singapore, Chicago and Chapel Hill. Future immersions will be held in Istanbul, Mumbai, New York and Johannesburg.

"As we prepare to graduate our first class here in Chapel Hill, we are gratified that MBA@UNC is recognized as one of the very best MBA programs online in the world and that UNC Kenan-Flagler is viewed as both an innovator in the development of top-quality online business education," said Shackelford. "MBA@UNC provides a one-of-a-kind combination of high quality and flexibility, and we are even more excited than ever that online learning – when done right – can have the same transformative power as our on-campus programs."


Visit http://onlinemba.unc.edu/blog/mbaunc-graduates for more information on MBA@UNC graduation, including profiles of graduates and a timeline of MBA@UNC’s journey from launch to graduation.

About the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
Consistently ranked one of the world's best business schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler is known for its collaborative culture that stems from its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. Professors excel at both teaching and research, and demonstrate unparalleled dedication to students. Graduates are effective, principled leaders who have the technical and managerial skills to deliver results in the global business environment. UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a rich portfolio of programs and extraordinary, real-life learning experiences: Undergraduate Business (BSBA), full-time MBA, Executive MBA Programs (Evening, Weekend and global OneMBA®), online MBA@UNC, UNC-Tsinghua Dual-Degree EMBA, Master of Accounting, PhD, Executive Development, and UNC Business Essentials programs. It is home to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.